|| In winter, when so
many of our useful insect-eating birds are away overseas, we can do much to
help our feathered friends that are still with us. Prominent among them are
the robin, the wren, the hedge-sparrow, the song-thrush, and the various
species of tits.
There are two ways in which we can help them ; we can provide food
tables—a very pleasant help in time of trouble ; we can provide
nest-boxes—as part of a "long-term" policy.
To deal first with food, let us be clear that in open weather, even
in winter, all these birds can take care of themselves without our help; but
given a prolonged spell of frost and snow like we had last February, with
the ground iron-hard for days on end and natural food almost unobtainable
then a little timely aid from us may make all the difference between life
and death for the birds.
Now we all know that human food must not be wasted : in fact it's
illegal.; But there are some things we may still offer the birds without
breaking the law. Here are a few suggestions for their food table :—bacon
rind, either hung up in strips for the tits ro minced for all comers, crumbs
swept from the breakfast table, fish skin and bones, cheese rind, and bits
of fat from the dog's meat man. And don't forget that in really hard weather
unfrozen drinking water is as important to the birds as food.
Now as to nest-boxes. If you do it now, there is still time to
make and put up a nest-box in your garden. With luck, a pair of great or
blue tits may rear a brood in it, to their great advantage and yours.
Members of the tit family do not begin to nest until the end of March or the
beginning of April, but the longer you give them to get used to the box the
Tits have a habit of looking over possible nesting sites very early
in the year. There are, of course, other kinds of birds that will take over
nest-boxes properly made and placed.
Size, shape and position of a nest-box are all very important. How
to make it would take up too much space in this Guide, but, if you are
really interested, write to the Ministry at Berri Court Hotel, St. Annes,
Lytham St. Annes, Lancs., for Advisory Leaflet No. 212.